My mentor Cara Green very kindly placed me onto the Bristol Corn and Feed Trade Awareness course. On day one of the course I arrived and met the other participants. I saw a few familiar faces from ForFarmers which put me at ease because it can be quite daunting not knowing anyone. I also met other people in the agricultural industry who work for companies such as NWF, Cefetra and Mole Valley Farmers. It was fascinating that just by talking to someone you can establish common ground quickly and even have mutual friends. We all gathered into a function room and received a warm welcome from Paul Roberts who works for SugaRich. He set the scene for the following two days in regards to what talks we would be receiving and the sites we would be visiting. Furthermore he gave us an insight into SugaRich and explained how they take waste cakes, bread and biscuits that fail to meet the required standards for human food and extract the sugar components out of it so it can be used for animal feed.
We headed out on the coach after a wonderful lunch to the Royal Portbury Docks. We put on our safety gear so we could have a tour around the storage units. We walked through a huge building full of various raw materials which were stacked in mountains. The capacity they could store was unbelievable. It was fascinating to see raw materials such as soya in different formats eg. grainy and sandy looking. James Reeson gave us a great talk about the history of the port and how it has evolved over recent years, in particular the technological advancements in the industry which has made shipping raw materials more efficient and less damaging on the environment.
We hopped back on the coach and visited one of the blend sites down at the Avonmouth docks. As a group we discussed the stages of formulating a blend and the types of compound feeds which are added to make up a blend. We then returned to Clevedon Hall where we were greeted with tea and cake and given some time to check into our rooms. Our evening comprised of a talk from Mark Ryland, who gave us an overview of quality assurance schemes for feed and crops that are used for food production.
We were then all ready for some dinner, the food was amazing and we reflected on the insightful day we had experienced. A presentation from Mike Spencer was given after dinner, he spoke about ‘The Role of the Broker’ and gave us an explanation of the Bristol Corn Trade Guild.